Are you using abusive behaviour in your relationship? Have you been violent or abusive to a family member, partner or someone in your care? Have you made a loved one or someone in your care afraid? Is your abusive or violent behaviour affecting your children?

Domestic violence is when you use abusive ways to feel in control of others. This can happen one time or it can happen often.

Abuse can include:

  • controlling what your partner spends
  • controlling who your partner talks to or spends time with
  • making threats
  • pressuring your partner for sex
  • being intimidating
  • controlling or preventing cultural or religious practices
  • constantly accusing your partner of being unfaithful to you, without any justification for this
  • pushing, hitting and slapping

Anger and abuse – what’s the difference?

Abuse or violence is a behaviour to control a situation or a person, where one party feels less equal than the other, is afraid and controlled.

Abusive behaviour of any kind is always a choice. All choices have consequences. No-one deserves to be abused, whatever the other person says or does, abuse and violence is never an acceptable response

Anger is an emotion, but people can get angry without getting abusive! Arguments and disagreements are normal and leave both parties with a sense that they have the right to and can influence the direction of the argument.

But if the person you love or care for says they are afraid as a result of your voice, stance, demands or violence, then believe them.

What are the consequences of your behaviour?

  • Demanding or intimidating actions are destructive to relationships.
  • Your partner and your children get scared and hurt.
  • You could cause serious injury or death.
  • A domestic violence order may be taken out against you.
  • You could face criminal charges and prison.

How can you start changing your abusive behaviour?

Some people use abuse to control the people they are close to while others choose to have relationships free of violence and abuse. It is your choice.

Don’t let abusive behaviour ruin your relationship.

  1. Talk to someone about where to get help.
  2. Stop making excuses and blaming others for your behaviour.
  3. Accept that respectful relationships are free from violence and abuse.

Support and resources

You can talk to someone about this. If you would like help to stop using violent and controlling behaviour there are programs, groups and telephone services that specifically deal with domestic violence issues.

You can contact the following services.

If you want to talk by someone by phone you can call Mensline on 1800 600 636. MensLine Australia is a professional telephone and online support and information service for Australian men which offers 24/7 professional non judgemental and anonymous support. MensLine Australia offer telephone anger management and behavioural change programs alongside a call back service which can provide professional ongoing support. Call 1300 78 99 78. Or visit their website at .

The Men’s Referral Service (MRS) provides anonymous and confidential telephone counselling, information and referrals to men to help them take action to stop using violent and controlling behaviour. Call 1300 766 491. Or visit their website at

The Canberra Men’s Centre’s has a Working With the Man behaviour change program for men who have been violent to women. This program is for men who acknowledge and take responsibility for their violent and inappropriate behaviour.

For information about vacancies and waiting lists, please contact the Men’s Centre on (02) 6230 6999 during office hours.

You can also get support during a domestic violence incident. If Police are called to an incident of domestic violence, they will suggest that you can be assisted by DVCS. DVCS will proceed to the home and can offer on-site assistance to all parties, including those who have used violence.